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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in Best Actor (150)


Black Mass and Acting Beats

If there's a surprise SAG Best Ensemble nominee this year on December 9th, you should fully expect it to be Black Mass. Not that something can be a surprise when you fully expect it but let's not split hairs. Especially not hairs carefully threaded through bald caps.


Click to read more ...


Sir Ian McKellen Charms the Brits. And Other Oscar Stories.

Nathaniel again in my last post directly from LA. I'll have to leave you in the good hands of Team Experience tomorrow as I'm travelling back across the country to home base NYC. This afternoon I had the pleasure of attending a Brit-heavy brunch with various BAFTA & Academy voters to honor Sir Ian McKellen in Mr. Holmes, one of the year's biggest indie hits.

Look at the starry talent that showed up to support him...

Jane Seymour, Sir Ian, Sir Patrick, Kathy Bates, and The Lovely Laura Linney

Did you know that Jane Seymour and Sir Ian McKellen go all the way back to 1980 together, having co-starred in Amadeus (1980) on Broadway? She was wife to Tim Curry's Mozart and McKellen was Salieri (and won the Tony) but none of the stage cast were used in Milos Forman's Oscar-devouring film version in 1984. I was able to say hello to all the actresses. I informed Kathy Bates of her devout fanbase at The Film Experience and she credited American Horror Story for giving her new fans but admitted the bloodiness of the show was a bit much for her (same) and that drinking the fake blood was disgusting. We even talked about her Oscar-winning work in Misery as I shared earlier today on twitter.


Longtime readers, particularly "par3182" who named her thus, will be happy to know that "The Lovely Laura Linney" is now aware that at The Film Experiencce we only ever refer to her by that full title and have for years. One may not even say 'Laura Linney' in casual conversation as it must be properly heralded with 'The Lovely'. She beamed with all the apple-cheeked radiance we've all fallen for repeatedly over the years.

McKellen's close friend Sir Patrick Stewart was also on hand. Though McKellen singled several attendees of the party out beautifully as he spoke to the crowd, about his fellow X-Man he joked...

Patrick Stewart and I are practically married at this point. But his wife is here so we won't talk about that."

I personally admitted to Sir Patrick that I keep almost going as him for Halloween. "That is a terrible idea!" he proclaimed, destroying my future dreams of Professor Xavier drag.

As for the man of the hour, Sir Ian McKellen was just as funny, warm, and winkingly arrogant as you could expect. 'I'm very good in the picture!' he agreed without shame with those twinkling eyes while chatting. He was a delight to talk to and especially gracious to fellow actors.

I told the twice Oscar nominated actor that I thought the makeup work to age him up for Mr. Holmes was incredible -- the actor is a spry 76 but he plays Sherlock Holmes as a frail 90something. He agreed and mentioned that "the big hooter" specifically helped him in feeling like someone else. Looking into the mirror after hair and makeup and seeing the character taking shape is a great help. 'Your body starts to join in,' he remarked hunching over to recall the aging affect. When it comes to actors and transformation, he quipped  'I knew what DNA was before the scientists!' 

related: current best actor chart | more on Sir Ian


Morning Truth Tell: Tom Hanks...

Tom Hanks is giving way better performances recently (Captain Phillips, Bridge of Spies) than the ones he used to win Oscars for. 


Best Actor 2000: Who Gets Your Vote!

RETRO REMATCH FUN!  Apropos of nothing, let's time travel back to [spinning wheel of randomness] 2000. Who gets your vote in... [spinning wheel of randomness again]... Best Actor? Make your case in the comments.

  • Javier Bardem, Before Night Falls
  • Russell Crowe, Gladiator
  • Tom Hanks, Cast Away
  • Ed Harris, Pollock
  • Geoffrey Rush, Quills

Bonus Q: If you could replace any of these men with these other key 2000 leads tell us who and why:

  • Michael Douglas, Wonder Boys (GG Nom)
  • Jamie Bell, Billy Elliott (SAG Nom)
  • George Clooney - O Brother Where Art Thou? (GG Win)
  • Christian Bale - American Psycho (zero nominations... except right here at The Film Experience where he medalled in our infant online year albeit at a different web address and a Boston non-profit indie film awards group called Chlotrudis then in their 6th year)

*Our actually serious Oscar competition investigation -- the "Smackdown" Series -- is not dead. There were just some speedbumps. News on the delayed 1963 Smackdown coming soon. 


NYFF: Sing the Electric "Steve Jobs"

Reporting from the ongoing New York Film Festival here is Jason on Oscar hopeful "Steve Jobs".

It should surprise no one that a movie directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin is all about rhythm. The rhythm is established at the start (and Steve Jobs runs zero to sixty so you'd best get a grip quick) and pulses outwards like the blink of a cursor, or a techno beat. You could probably set your watch to it... if you were a maniacal math genius who could work out the exact algorithm they're working off of. 

The new film is structured around three events in Jobs professional life: his first presentation of his Macintosh computer in 1984; the "perfect black cube" of the NeXT machine in 1988 after he was fired from Apple; and his triumphant return to the company a decade later with the crayola-tinted iMac every girl in my college dorm owned. Within each chapter, there are a series of sonnets of sorts, devoted to the folks in his life - his daughter, his work-wife, his boss, so on. The pieces shift once the rhythm is established, but structurally speaking the film is rigorous, in a (and I do not use these words lightly) soul-pleasing kind of way. Once you find your way in to Steve Jobs, there's this satisfaction in expectations, and the massaging thereof. [More...]

Click to read more ...


NYFF: Spielberg's frosty Bridge of Spies

Manuel reporting from the New York Film Festival on Steven Spielberg's latest Cold War film.

Bridge of Spies opens with a man working on a self-portrait. There’s a weariness to his features that he’s ably translating from his mirrored reflection onto his canvas. There’s a purpose to every brush stroke he takes. He works methodically. Silently.

Spielberg, long admired for large-scale adventures and expertly crafted action sequences, seems to have entered a quieter phase of his career. While War Horse seemed to play to his strengths, while trying John Ford on for size, the talky Lincoln showed that the director could create a kinetic urgency even in what was, for the most part, a chamber piece about laws and votes. Bridge of Spies pushes further still in this direction. Yes, we’re dealing with spies, and fallen aircrafts, government agents and tense phone calls, but at its heart, this is yet another installment of the Cold War-as-bureaucracy genre. [More...]

Click to read more ...


Southpaw returning to the ring. (And by ring we mean movie theaters.)

someone wants an Oscar... someone wants an Oscar...

We say this in a sing-song teasing way but super-affectionately! For who beyond Jake Gyllenhaal among Hollywood's current leading men has earned more Oscar love than he's received? It's still virtually unthinkable that he missed the shortlist last year for Nightcrawler in which he burrowed into a character that proved far more indelible and challenging and even showy (and AMPAS loves that) than many of the actual nominees. And his work was better than almost all of theirs, too. (At least we gave him a prize right here)

Jake is in theaters right now climbing mountains in Everest but his headlining gig in the summer's modest boxing drama success Southpaw will get another go at theaters (and thus industry attention) this weekend courtesy of The Weinstein Company who just don't mess around when it comes to campaigning for gold. (Although, frankly, if they were going to do this at all, shouldn't they have y'know, announced it with more preliminary fanfare? And maybe not done it during Matt Damon's possibly record-busting weekend?)

Breaking into this year's Best Actor field might still prove difficult since his work in Southpaw isn't as memorable as his work in Nightcrawler and isn't as uniquely inspired as his work in next year's Demolition (he's so terrific in that one - pity about the delay.) On the other hand this year's competition could well thin out if The Revenant is not all that or if AMPAS voters view all the Spotlight guys as supporting, or if Johnny Depp can't reheat that super brief bonfire of Black Mass goodwill or if Matt Damon keeps sticking his foot in his mouth or if...

If if if if if if. You know how this works. Do you think he has a (long) shot?